On 17 and 18 April the founder countries of the Open Government Initiative, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, UK and USA met for a conference in Brazil to report on their activities over the past year and to accept new members, including Bulgaria. The Bulgarian side has assigned the head of the political office of PM Boyko Borissov, Mrs Rumyana Bachvarova, to sign a declaration for accession to the initiative and to present a national action plan.
The initiative started in September 2011 and identified as its objectives the enhancement of public institutions’ transparency and accountability and the promotion of greater involvement of citizens in government. Back then thirty-nine countries including Bulgaria said they would join the initiative, however its founders gave them a year to prepare national action plans. The Bulgarian government passed its plan on 11 April.
The founders also required action plans committed to at least one of the following challenges: improvement of public services; enhancement of social morality; greater effectiveness of public finance; creating greater security in towns and villages; improvement of corporate accountability.
Through the action plan that it tabled at the conference in Brazil the Bulgarian government has made a commitment to two of the preliminary conditions, namely, to work for more effective management of public finance through measures pertaining to the budget, public procurement, natural resources and foreign aid. Secondly it made a commitment to improve corporate responsibility and accountability through measures for the protection of the environment, combating corruption, consumer protection and inclusion of communities.
The report explicitly remarks that the commitments made by the government through it represent a new step in its efforts for more open government and complement existing measures and results attained in compliance with European law with strict observance of the requirements of publicity and transparency in social relations.
By joining the global Open Government Partnership initiative Bulgaria positions itself in a larger, trans-continental community for sharing and implementation of the main principles of open government: transparency, citizen involvement, accountability and technological innovation. In this community Bulgaria will be able to benefit from the experience of more advanced countries and will share its own experience in spheres where it has been successful and has implemented good practices.
Translated by Daniela Konstantinova